Yesterday was quite a wild roller coaster to say the least. It didn’t take long for me to get rid of Cable's crew. A simple wink and telling them to put all the necessary information down on a notepad was enough to give them a smile on their faces. I didn't want to do this as much as they did. My task was to chronicle Cable's life, not theirs. So, I excused myself for a moment, giving some time for them to depart. And, they didn't waste one second. When I came back the room was empty and I couldn't help but smile.
I quickly left as well before Cable came back with the woman known as Storm. It seems there is something deep and unrequited between the two. I think this is the main reason that Storm was so willing to leave her other responsibility so quickly. At least, that's what I figured out so far.
My little venture took to the office of Jonah Jameson, editor of the Daily Bugle. I knew he had a penchant for working late, and so I went up to the office. I was surprised by the slam of the door as he quickly walked out of the office, with a cigar in his mouth. He said he wasn't surprised to see me, and wondered what took so long to retract my decision of not taking the job. At that point, I told him I wanted to take the assignment for Sector 17. He sheepishly grinned at me and said it was mine, and Peter Parker would be my photographer. He told me I could find Parker in his office, and added the odd statement he didn't care if I told the whole world.
I figured the guy was working a bit too late, and it was effecting his brain. When I walked in the office, I found Parker bound by some type of rope. Needless to say, I was puzzled by his predicament. He constantly asked for a pair of scissors while I was trying to find out what happened. I finally stopped giving him the third degree and looked in Jonah's desk for a pair. What I found was something I never thought possible. The first, a picture of the elusive Sector 17, obviously taken by Parker. The second I won't mention here just in case anyone with an evil intent should get a hold of this chronicle.
I freed Parker with a little bit of effort and followed him back to his house. I had the small opportunity to meet another big figure. Where Cable was a knight in shining armor, this guy was King Arthur. His words were in even bigger surprise as he asked Parker a question. Parker didn't answer right away, and was confounded by the question. "King Arthur" gave me some line about keeping this off the record, and I took that as a cue to leave. I excused myself at an opportune moment and left the happy household of "King Arthur", Parker, and his wife.
I returned here to a rather impatient Cable and Storm, as they wondered what happened to the team. I gave him my little white lie, and he seemed to know what I had done. Fortunately for me, the team returned after a short time. I guess Cable trained them well, and they felt enough loyalty to him not to go off on their own.
Cable told everyone the plan, and to rest up for the night. He figured a daytime strike would catch The Mechanic off guard. And, that the search for the black metallic panther would be fruitless, since he couldn't even find traces of its presence. Everyone agreed and found a place to sleep, except the poor claustrophobic Storm.
As usual, I am left here with the gnomic Blaquesmith. Cable felt the necessity just in case the odd circumstance of Apocalypse actually being there. He didn't want me to be turned into one of his many agents, and I felt the same after the horror stories he shared with me. He and his team took off in their little ship, as I watched it disappear in the horizon. I just hope to see that ship return with everyone alive.
"Sir, I don't mean to complain. But, why did you switch back to the big gun motif?" Cannonball's southern drawl sounded bothered.
"Sam, it has to do with the prophecy. Since I lost the Psimatar, this weapon is supposed to replace it." Cable said as he placed the controls on autopilot and held the weapon in his hand.
Storm shook her head. "I still think the placement of the weapon was too convenient Nathan."
"Look, I appreciate your concerns, but right now is not the time to debate gun control. I'm a soldier and I know how to use a weapon the right way, trust me." Cable turned his attention back to the controls when he switched back to manual.
"I don't get it though. Why would the big A require the help of anyone for his armor? I mean this guy has a mutant power of adapting to just about anything."
Siryn's Irish lilt gave her away to Cable. "Theresa, Apocalypse has always used other people to cull out the weak from the strong. My guess is that this Nestor Forbes has extreme connections to the criminal world. Apocalypse may be making his move there."
"Why not just let him stir up the criminal masterminds against each other? I mean it would make life easier." Jesse "Bedlam" pointed out.
"Because, the weaker ones always seek to make themselves stronger. Wipe out the weak ones, and the strong ones can concentrate on more illegal activities, and not worry about the small guys 'taking a piece of the pie', as the expression goes." Storm spoke up for Cable's behalf.
"You sound like you speak from experience." Jesse hypothesized.
Storm nodded. "I was a thief in my youth. I am trying to repay for my misdeeds by being part of something that represents hope for the future. That's why I joined the X-Men and why I am now part of Cable's Twelve."
Domino grew impatient. "Yeah, the dirty dozen instead of the Six Pack. Not to sound like one of these kids, but are we there yet?"
"I'll have to land in an indiscrete area first. Then, we can go to his factory. Hopefully, he'll still be there. Just be prepared for anything." Cable noted so they could ready themselves mentally.
The ship landed with a thud as it hit the hard ground.
"Yeah, like putting ourselves in crash position next time." Domino spoke, as she was the only one to make it unscathed from the harsh landing. The rest had only minor scratches from being tossed in the small ship.
The team exited the ship to find a small groove of tropical trees lying out before them. They looked back at the ship to see that was cloaked. Cable stepped out to see wondering glances.
Cable nodded his head at the indirect questions. "It's been there. I try not to use it since it takes up a lot of fuel while flying. But, we are too close to a local military instillation. I didn't want to alert them."
"Sir, I reckon you're going to alert a lot more with that gun of yours." Cannonball tried once more to state his concern.
Cable finally took Sam's words to heart. He had yet to actually try and shoot the gun to test its power. It was the best time, as Cable spotted no one in the vicinity. He pointed the gun at a large rock and pressed the trigger. Then, something had happen which no one expected.
"Greetings, I am the Parabolic System Integrated Matter/Antimatter Transforming Autonomous Resonator."
The wild looks came from everyone and Cable almost dropped the gun in surprise.
Storm's worries were confirmed. "By the bright lady! What sort of weapon is this?"
Cable shook his head. "I don't know, but weapons from my time didn't have central processing units. I think the use of them in weapons stopped way before my time because of too many glitches. I just hope I didn't get a lemon from Rachel."
"The P.S.I.M.A.T.A.R. Weapon System is dedicated to its carrier's protection. Please state any verbal command that you wish this Weapon System to carry out before firing." The voice was low and grating, as though the voice chip was defective.
"The stun setting is to be used on all living things, except for one. His designation is Apocalypse, also known as En Sabah Nur." Cable shrugged at the rest who continued to stare at the white gun.
"This systems primary function is to protect the carrier at all costs. Such a request would put the primary function in jeopardy. Do you wish to proceed with this request?"
Cable looked at the gun with an odd glance. "Yes, I wish to avoid too much attention from other parties. It would be a hindrance to my mission of hunting the designated target."
The gun remained silent for a minute, as though it were processing the request. "This unit has been set to stun on all living beings, except for Designate: Apocalypse, En Sabah Nur. The P.S.I.M.A.T.A.R. weapon system is now ready for use."
X-Force and Storm gave the gun wild stares as Cable rubbed his chin in thought.
"Well, I guess that answers all of your questions. Now, I have an image inducer that will render the gun invisible. That will prevent anyone seeing it and raising alarm." Cable placed the small object on the gun as it cloaked the weapon from sight.
"Um sir, just how can you see it then?" Cannonball scratched his head.
Cable gave a smirk and pointed to his glowing eye. "Although I fight it every day, it has a few advantages. Ororo, can you scout ahead and see what trouble we might expect?"
Cable made a motion, which indicated he slung the weapon on his back. The members of X-Force continued to stare a few times to see if the invisible weapon would do anything further. Storm took Cable's order without hesitation, as she wanted to avoid Cable's new 'toy' as well. Cable walked a few feet away and leaned on a tree as the rest stood around and waited for Storm's return.
"Look, I hope Mr. Eastwood there can handle that piece. Would someone mind filling me in on this Apocalypse thing?" Jesse's curiosity got the best of him.
"Sure, if you don't mind a long story short. Cable came back from a future where an Egyptian man called En Sabah Nur ruled. He simply came back to prevent that future. And, right now, big blue goes by another name, Apocalypse. " Theresa explained to Jesse.
"Big Blue?" Jesse was at a loss from the reference.
"Aye, for some reason Apocalypse likes his armor blue. I don't know the significance, if any." Theresa shrugged her shoulders.
"So Gargamel intends to kill Papa Smurf to make things golden, nice." Jesse lamented.
Meltdown was the only one to laugh at the reference as the rest glared at her. "What? I thought it was funny."
Storm's quick return gave the team and Cable an ominous feeling.
"There are no signs of Apocalype's minions. I doubt he would ever expect us to trace this Mechanic to his location." Storm surmised.
"All right, two flanks. I want Storm, Domino, Cannonball, and Proudstar to be in the back. Meltdown, Bedlam, Siryn, Sunspot, and Moonstar will be the frontline and I'll take point. This guy can disappear on us once he's warned, so I want this as quick and quiet as possible. Let's go."
"He wants it quick and quiet as possible and he puts all the noisemakers in the frontline. Cable is focusing too much on Apocalypse if you ask me." Domino complained to Storm.
"He has been hunting for this madman ever since he came back to our timeline. I guess he is feeling more urgency as the so-called "millennium" approaches." Storm replied.
Domino simply shook her head. "Well, whatever it is, it's starting to make him inefficient. If push comes to shove, one of us is going to have to take over the Twelve."
Storm's got a stoic face from the statement. "If the time comes, and the situation warrants. I shall take command. Until then, Cable is in charge."
Domino seemed more shocked that Storm actually said something about taking charge. There was no doubt left in her mind that what she had suggested was wrong. Cable had grown too distracted by his mission and was beginning to compromise the very thing he had traveled through to time to accomplish. Though Storm was right as well, it would take more than Cable making poor battlefield and weapon choices. Cable interrupted Domino's thoughts as he held his hand up, a sign to stop and drop low.
Cable pointed to Meltdown to sixteen specific areas. For each one Meltdown created a 'time bomb' that would explode the mines obviously underneath the ground. Fortunately, the ground was hard and dry and covered the noise of the explosions well. Cable held his hand up for a couple more minutes just in case anything was heard. Domino and Storm looked at each other and almost blushed in embarrassment about their previous statements. Cable waved forward with his hand and also made a sign to still stay low. The team moved about ten more feet and Cable held out his hand once more. This time he motioned for Sunspot. He pointed to six small towers each containing a type of camera device. Sunspot flew up and shot six searing solar flares, which disintegrated the devices on impact. Cable waved forward once more, repeating the procedure with Siryn this time. She let out a sonic wave disabling twenty hidden booby traps. Cable seemed more at ease as he tapped Moonstar on the shoulder and pointed to a couple armed guards patrolling a security gate. Moonstar took aim and released as the psionic arrows hit them with deadly precision. The guards fell to the ground with a thump, as Cable looked to Jesse. Jesse nodded and gave a quirky smile as he placed his hand on the security panel as it short-circuited. The gate unlocked as Cable smiled with satisfaction.
"All right, let's switch positions. Domino you take point, the rest of you need to be on the look out for more guards that may come from behind."
Domino nodded as she slipped through the gate and walked up to the door while stepping over the unconscious guards. She checked the door and noticed it was unlocked. She opened it as it creaked loudly and gave pause to the others.
"Thank goodness you have luck on your side Domino." Siryn commented as she still looked over her shoulders.
Cable shot a glance at Theresa as she covered her mouth with her hand. The others made a mental note not to speak above a whisper. Domino slipped through the door and after few seconds of examining the first hallway, gave the all clear after. Everyone else filed in one by one as Domino did a series of flips and rolls down the hallway. She flipped a switch as the sound of more security devices powered down.
"Cable, this is too easy. It's like a rat in a maze." Domino commented as Cable and the rest came up to her position.
Cable nodded with hesitation. "It is some sort of game, I know. I think this is for explicit purpose of Apocalypse being warned that I am coming."
The next set of doors were rather large and indicated that the main workshop was ahead. Cable looked at each of those who were following him into battle. They all gave a nod or a thumb up to signify that they were ready for what lay ahead. Cable made the motion that he was grabbing the gun and taking off the image inducer as the large white weapon became visible once more. Cable gave the nod to Domino as she shoved open the swinging set of doors, and the others followed her in with their mutant powers at the ready.
The sound of metallic hands clapping greeted them. "I am impressed. You must really be informed about the master."
Cable instantly looked at where the voice was coming from and only saw a shadowy figure. "Nestor Forbes, I know what this little test is all about. Unfortunately for you, I have no troubles killing the messenger."
A slight chuckle bursted forth from the dark figure as it stepped a little into the light. "I think young one, that you are too late for that. Apocalypse has known that you would come for him since you arrived. In fact, he wanted you to know that is was your little time trip that awoke him in this era."
Cable spotted the reflection from the blue gauntlet and aimed his weapon at the figure. "PSIMATAR Target Designate Apocalypse straight ahead."
A brilliant flash of energy came forth from the barrel as the figure was hit and melted into a pool of slag. Another round of applause was heard.
"A remarkable weapon, the fusion cannon. It shouldn't be something from your time either. Of course, there's a lot that has changed due to their presence, I should know."
Cable seemed confused as the rest at the statement "Stop babbling and spit it out. What does Apocalypse want with these aliens?"
A silent moment passed before the man answered. "Simple, they represent the ultimate test of culling those who are weak from those who are strong. Even the dark lord thinks it is a test for him. That’s just how big of a deal these aliens are. Now, speaking of tests, I don't like my creations destroyed. So, I have a few more robots to keep you occupied while I make my report to the high lord."
"Target Designates Apocalypses non sentient constructs, presence of sentient being in armor detected." The weapon informed with a hurried tone.
"Give location of the designated target." Cable commanded as the robotic minions walked forth from their storage receptacles.
"Fifty feet and rising. The sentient being is trying to escape out the West End of this facility." The gun droned.
"I'll get the Mechanic, you guys take care of the droids." Cable headed towards another large door about twenty feet away.
The robots immediately took after Cable as he ran towards the exit. X-Force and Storm began to pummel the constructs from behind.
"Well, this is no fun. And, excuse me for saying this, but I thought the android bit was Doom's area." Cannonball said as he blasted through another robot.
"It was meant as a distraction for Cable. They probably didn't expect the heavy artillery." Meltdown destroyed a couple more robots with her 'time bombs'.
"No pun intended." She finished with zeal.
Storm noticed all of the robots had a small antenna on them. "Siryn, they are radio controlled. If you find the right frequency..."
"I'm one step ahead of you Storm." Siryn pitched her voice up and down to find the right one.
The robots faltered on one pitch, as Siryn smiled.
"Everyone cover your ears."
They obeyed her warning as Siryn let out a shrill horrid sound as the robots fell like a stack of cards.
"Carnage in C-minor." Siryn coyly bragged.
Cable noticed a short stout man entering a van from afar, and aimed at the tire. The van squealed out of control as the axle and tire was completely disintegrated. It hit the side of the garage as the occupant was ejected from the car. Cable ran to see a mangled body, and instantly knew it was too late. He was barely able to recognize the short stout man's face. Storm flew in to see the last of the commotion as she approached Cable.
"Cable, is he?" She asked as she flew overhead, then looked down at the body.
She turned her head in disgust. "Never mind."
"Go ahead and tell everyone to search for information on Apocalype's current location. I'll take care of the body."
"Of course, Nathan. Are you okay?" Storm's voice rang with deep concern.
Cable nodded in reply. "I'll be fine."
Storm flew back into the factory as Cable found a small fire blanket to cover the man's body. He walked back in to find an empty factory. He saw a set of stairs leading up to an office area, and figured where that's where the rest might be. His assumption was proven correct as he caught a glimpse of Storm peeking out from the corner. He walked up the stairs, and looked at the woman directly in the eyes.
"Are you okay?" He asked with a sheepish grin.
She smiled and nodded. "I will be fine. The others found a computer which may have some information."
The small office was packed with the team as Cable tried to squeeze through.
"Hey, watch your elbow!" Meltdown complained as Cable managed to finally barge his way to the office desk. He saw Theresa at the terminal typing away.
"Ach, I can not find anything." She hit the keyboard as her Irish accent came out deep with frustration.
Cable patted her on the shoulder. "Allow me."
Cable seemed to type a million words a minute as he instantly found what he was looking for. The others looked at each other with worried glances.
Jesse rolled his eyes. "Damn all this way to some way off location in Africa, just to find out you have to go all the way back."
"It could be just another ruse." Storm added in defense.
Cable shook his head. "No, it's true. I know it. He sent his Harbinger to New York. It would only make sense he would go there as well. I just didn't know when."
"That's ironic coming from a time traveler." Jesse snapped with contempt.
Cable gave Jesse a dark look. "Look, you want to appoint yourself the leader's critic that's fine. But, I appreciate it if you bring your problems to me and not to the entire group."
"Yes, sir." Jesse gave a sarcastic salute.
Cable stood up and shook his head. "Let's go back. We have no time to waste."
Recent reports of some cyborg tearing up the streets and gunning after the President prevented the little men into making me some mechanical Frankenstein. I'll have to thank that Deathlok later, personally. But, I'm still sitting in this damn forsaken pod, and S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't know what to do with me. Then, someone made a call, obviously a big connection with S.H.I.E.L.D. They wanted to test some new technology on me, and I'm the guinea pig. So, I may get my chance to finish what we started hero. And this time, I'll make sure it's nowhere near something flammable. Not that I fear fire now, I just don't want anymore interruptions. Next time we meet, I will make it my defining moment.